I Lay The Odds For This Year’s Emmys

Week 1, Part 5: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama

Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown: 9–2. For Playing: An aging and increasingly unhappy Princess Margaret. Pro: Margaret is increasingly becoming the most sympathetic character on this series, and as her marriage crumbled, her recognition crashed, and her affair was discover, perhaps what happened in the finale was inevitable. Carter is one of the greatest actress who ever lived, who has never received either an Oscar, and she more than deserves to be the favorite for an Emmy. Con: The Emmys don’t usually recognize subtleties, and they ignored Vanessa Kirby’s work, which was nominally superior. Will her elder sister as always overshadow her.

Laura Dern, Big Little Lies: 17–2. For Playing: Renata, the wealthy housewife whose fortune and marriage collapse around her. Pro: Many of the greatest lines in the superb (to my mind) second season of this series belonged to Dern. (“I will not not be rich!” and her unprintable rant about her husband’s affair) She gave an intense performance, and lest we forget, she won an Emmy for playing this role when it was a limited series. Oh, and she won an Oscar this year. Maybe that will be a boost. Con: There was a lot of backlash against the second season of this show (which I still don’t get) and it was a long time ago. Somehow, I think all of that will work against her.

Will She Not Not Win an Emmy?

Julia Garner, Ozark: 11–2. For playing: Ruth Langmore, a teenage criminal you’d be an idiot to underestimate. Pro: It’s a little foolish to argue an actress as young as Garner has found the role of a lifetime, but whenever she’s on screen, heavyweights like Peter Mullan and Laura Linney better take cover. The fact that she deservedly won an Emmy last year for her work only proves that the best is yet to come. It’s hard to say the Emmys would be lazy to pick her again. Con: No Supporting Actress has won back to back Emmys since Anna Gunn in 2013 and 2014. Given how much tougher the competition is than last year (and that Game of Thrones isn’t dividing the vote so much) the odds of Garner prevailing are a lot harder.

Thandie Newton, Westworld: 17–2: For Playing: Maeve, the warrior whose only loyalty is to her survival. Pro: As the war moved into the real world, Maeve continued to fight against being a pawn by the real powers and still trying to find her place. Newton has taken on one of her greatest roles and made it her own. She did win an Emmy last time she was nominated, and her speech ruled. Con: Westworld dropped a lot in the public eye — there’s been a lot of new, better stuff out there. Hard as it may be to consider this show old hat, many voters may think so..

Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve:17–2. For Playing: Carolyn, the head of the task force trying to track down Villanelle…and that’s all I’ll say. Pro: Three seasons in, and despite everything she’s done, we’re still not sure if we can trust Carolyn’s motivations. That is in part due to the subtleties that this great actress lends in all the nuances of her work. Con: For all her gifts as an actress, I’ve always thought Shaw’s nominations have come at the expense of other, brighter lights. (I’m still wondering why they found room for her but not Rhea Seehorn) Somehow I just don’t think she’ll prevail.

Sarah Snook, Succession: 6–1. For Playing: Shiv, the only daughter of the Roy clan, who has a bigger set than most of her brothers. Pro: Snook submitting her name in Supporting actress instead of lead is a power play that Shiv herself would be proud of. Shiv spent most of the season trying to maneuver her father away from choosing an outsider to run the business. She demonstrated no compassion to the man she married in an affair for power — until the end, when she begged her father not to sacrifice him, thus setting up his downfall. Snook is incredible to watch. Con: Can this undervalued actress pull out a win against a field of previous winners? She has been moving up, but just as in her family, I’d say the odds are stacked against her.

Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies: 15–2. For Playing: Mary Louise, the mother-in-law to end all mother-in-laws. Pro: I’ll be honest. Within ten minutes of watching her, I thought Streep had the Emmy locked up. Her performance was one of the most exceptional ones of the entire year, and I thought she would just waltz to the Emmy. The pre-awards went against it, even though neither of the winners are eligible in this category. And I’ll level with you. I still have not seen a portrayed with some venom and depths for the entire year. She’s Meryl Streep after all. What else needs to be said? Con: She was the early favorite for much of 2019, but there have been a lot of big performances since then. Add to that all of the bad will against the show (don’t ask me why) and she may end up empty handed. But then again, she’s Meryl. She can handle it.

Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale:10–1. Pro: Moira Strand, one of the keys to the rebellion. Pro: Wiley has been one of the great actress of the nee Golden Age, and her work on this series has already earned her an Emmy for Best Guest Actress in 2018. As she tries to adjust to a new life in Canada, she shows us that the world outside of Gilead is not safe. Con: Wiley’s nomination was probably the biggest surprise of a category full of them, particularly considering the depths of the supporting cast. She’s ranked near the bottom of most expert picks, and I don’t think she’ll have the same command as Whitford.

Prediction: My head says Carter. My heart says Streep. I’m going to go with my head, though I hope I’m wrong. That said, this is going to be a tough category to pick.

After years of laboring for love in my blog on TV, I have decided to expand my horizons by blogging about my great love to a new and hopefully wider field.